Life after Turkish elections: New challenges for Erdogan

26.06.2018

Turkish citizens voted in the June 24 polls to elect the president and members of parliament. Recep Tayyip Erdogan won an absolute majority 52.5 percent of the vote, while his top rival Muharrem Ince lagged behind at 30.6 percent.

How will develop the relations between Russia and Turkey? What is the destiny of Turkish approach to the eurasian geopolitical strategy?  Russia will have a difficult time cooperating with Turkey, nonetheless, projects like “TurkSteam” and the “Akkuyu” nuclear power-plant will continue -- president Erdogan has made it clear that they are still remain crucial to the country.

These energy projects are inherently tied up in Turkey’s relationship to Moscow, Tehran and Erbil, as well as with individual businessmen directly involved in these strategic deals. On the other side, Russia needs Turkey as an ally in the international arena, particularly as an intermediary in the crisis in Syria. 

The leaders of countries from the Eurasian axis such as Putin, Azerbaijan’s Aliyev and leaders from other CIS countries, were the first to congratulate Erdogan on this important first step. It is curious that Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, joined the list of those attempting to maintain good relations with Russia and conduct policies independent of the EU. 

At the same time, the Western press reacted with predictable volatility, calling Erdogan the “uber-president” and a “Sultan of the modern era”. 

However, it is also worth considering the opinion of the skeptics: close cooperation will only continue along these lines until Turkey forces enough concessions from the US in Syria and Iraq on the Kurdish issue, at which point a sharp pro-Western turn is possible.  Thus, experts believe that in the short term, against the background of complex relationships with the West, Turkish leadership will strengthen relations with Russia, Iran and China. 

 

However, there is a real fear that Turkey will eventually return to a pro-Western path.